More Marylanders who traveled overseas are being tested for coronavirus, Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday.
Six Maryland residents were on the same cruise line as other residents who have tested positive for coronavirus disease, or COVID-19 — but not at the same time or on the same trip.
Two of the six are experiencing symptoms related to coronavirus disease and four are not, he said. All six are self-quarantined and will be tested.
In addition, 12 Marylanders are among those who have been a on separate cruise ship that docked on Monday on the West Coast after some passengers came down with coronavirus disease, Hogan said. The 12 are not experiencing symptoms.
During a press conference, Hogan also shared new details about Maryland’s fourth and fifth confirmed cases of the disease. Four of the state’s five coronavirus patients are from Montgomery County. The fifth is from Harford County. All have contracted the disease while traveling abroad.
Maryland’s fourth case, a Montgomery County man in his 60s, came down with coronavirus disease after traveling to Thailand and Egypt.
Hogan also announced new changes for the state workforce out of concern for coronavirus. All travel out of state has been canceled for state employees. Plans are being worked out for expanded teleworking, too.
Hogan said the 12 Maryland residents are on board the Grand Princess, a ship being held just outside San Francisco after a trip to Hawaii. At least 21 people on board have tested positive for coronavirus disease, multiple media outlets have reported.
Those 12 Maryland residents aboard the Grand Princess, Hogan said, are being taken to military bases in Texas and Georgia for testing.
The first three coronavirus disease cases in Maryland were announced on Thursday. All are Montgomery County residents — a couple in their 70s and a woman in her 50s, not related to the couple. All had been on a cruise on the Nile River in Egypt.
The state announced two more positive tests on Sunday.
Hogan said the man in his 60s was briefly hospitalized and is now quarantined.
Maryland’s fifth case, is a woman from Harford County in her 80s,. had traveled to Turkey.
The first three patients are not related to the other two cases, Hogan said.
One of the first three patients who was on the cruise ship and tested positive for the virus attended an event at The Village at Rockville retirement community on Feb. 28, which 70 to 100 people attended, Hogan has said.
Montgomery County Public Schools has said “members of the school community” went to the retirement community after the event, but are “not at risk” of getting the virus.
Montgomery County schools were open on Monday, but an online petition urged the school system to close in response to the coronavirus. More than 3,700 people had signed the petition as of 3:15 p.m. Monday.
A message from The Village at Rockville on Friday stated that the risk of potential exposure during the event was low, according to the Maryland Department of Health. None of the residents or staff had symptoms of the virus.
Another of the patients who got the disease after being on the cruise attended an event in the Philadelphia area and had contact with students and staff from the Central Bucks School District, Hogan has said.
Symptoms of coronavirus disease include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. The disease can cause death in the most serious cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says older adults are among the most at-risk, along with people who have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease.
Hogan said Monday that the people most susceptible to contracting the disease, particularly people older than 60, should avoid large crowds and stay at home. The state is concerned about people in nursing homes.
The CDC recommends thorough hand washing as the best defense against the virus.
Maryland Department of Health reports that there have been 73 negative tests for coronavirus disease as of Monday afternoon, in addition to the five people who have tested positive.
Hogan on Monday met with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House and was part of a teleconference with governors and other federal officials across the country.
“Just like each and every one of you, my mission — my highest priority — is keeping people safe,” he said earlier Monday while speaking at an International Association of Fire Fighters conference in Washington, D.C. “I want to assure Marylanders our state is taking every precaution when it comes to the coronavirus.”
Managing Editor Andrew Schotz and staff writer Caitlynn Peetz also contributed to this story
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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